Every night when we head to bed, we turn the TV to channel 9 so that when the kids wake up at zero o’clock in the morning to watch cartoons, they will find Arthur and Sid and Dragon Tales on PBS.
As I reach channel 9 late at night, I am often sucked in to the droning convention center hubbub that is Antiques Roadshow. I’m drawn in by the people and their stories.
“This was my great grand-daddy’s Civil War drum.”
“My mammy made this quilt for me out of shards of canvas that she says were ripped up pieces of a Picasso painting.”
“Sometimes I just go online and buy ornamental snuff boxes and hope they’re worth something someday. Of course I’d never sell any of them but I dressed up in my finest jeans to come down to this sound stage and find out what they’re worth for no apparent reason whatsoever but it sure is fun to be on the TEE-vee.”
There’s always the bustle of people wandering around in the background, shuffling in their jeans. Everyone wears jeans but the experts. They are the only ones allowed to wear professional attire.
Watching tonight, I couldn’t help but wonder how awesome it would be if it were suddenly exposed that Antiques Road Show was entirely staged, like The Bachelor. They’re all actors. None of the artifacts are real. It really is just a bunch of random junk from garage sales that the producers dig up, bring into the event hall and assign to the various actors.
The more personal/incredible/inane the story, the more money the actor gets paid to tell it. If they let the hair and makeup people give them an eighties perm, they earn an extra $200.
I would love to be an extra on Antiques Roadshow. You wouldn’t get real face time in the two-shot in front of the camera, with the deer-in-the-headlights look of confusion mixed with anticipation, but you could stand in line behind them and try to get in the shot, staring creepily off into the distance, clutching your circa 1860 Pez Dispenser.
No, I don’t think it’s a staged hoax. At least I’m not willing to investigate it at this time. I don’t think the world’s ready for the truth.